As Joshua prepare to cross the Jordon into the land of promise, he was told Joshua 1:7 “Be strong and very courageous. Be careful to obey all the law my servant Moses gave you; do not turn from it to the right or to the left, that you may be successful wherever you go.” He then told the people Joshua 23:6 “Be very strong; be careful to obey all that is written in the Book of the Law of Moses, without turning aside to the right or to the left. 7 Do not associate with these nations that remain among you; do not invoke the names of their gods or swear by them. You must not serve them or bow down to them. 8 But you are to hold fast to the Lord your God, as you have until now. 9 “The Lord has driven out before you great and powerful nations; to this day no one has been able to withstand you. 10 One of you routs a thousand, because the Lord your God fights for you, just as he promised. 11 So be very careful to love the Lord your God. 12 “But if you turn away and ally yourselves with the survivors of these nations that remain among you and if you intermarry with them and associate with them, 13 then you may be sure that the Lord your God will no longer drive out these nations before you. Instead, they will become snares and traps for you, whips on your backs and thorns in your eyes, until you perish from this good land, which the Lord your God has given you.” We have talked a lot about turning away and following false gospels. Because those who went before us did not listen we have ended up in desolation. We were warned. Deuteronomy 28:1 “If you fully obey the Lord your God and carefully follow all his commands I give you today, the Lord your God will set you high above all the nations on earth. 2 All these blessings will come on you and accompany you if you obey the Lord your God.” At the end of the blessing portion we are told in Deuteronomy 28:14 “Do not turn aside from any of the commands I give you today, to the right or to the left, following other gods and serving them.” This is what has happened as the church turned away much to the astonishment of Paul and followed other gospels.
We are not those people. We have turned back and now follow God’s word. This is our promise as we move foreword to take the land. Deuteronomy 9:1 “Hear, Israel: You are now about to cross the Jordan to go in and dispossess nations greater and stronger than you, with large cities that have walls up to the sky. 2 The people are strong and tall—Anakites! You know about them and have heard it said: “Who can stand up against the Anakites?” 3 But be assured today that the Lord your God is the one who goes across ahead of you like a devouring fire. He will destroy them; he will subdue them before you. And you will drive them out and annihilate them quickly, as the Lord has promised you.” We also must heed this warning. Deuteronomy 5:32 “So be careful to do what the Lord your God has commanded you; do not turn aside to the right or to the left. 33 Walk in obedience to all that the Lord your God has commanded you, so that you may live and prosper and prolong your days in the land that you will possess.”
We have talked a lot about King Josiah. 2 Kings 22:2 “He did what was right in the eyes of the Lord and followed completely the ways of his father David, not turning aside to the right or to the left.” Once he found the book of the law he obeyed and did what he was commanded to do. So much so it was said about him, 2 Kings 23:25 “Neither before nor after Josiah was there a king like him who turned to the Lord as he did—with all his heart and with all his soul and with all his strength, in accordance with all the Law of Moses.” We must continue to do the same no matter what. As you saw in Nehemiah there will be those who mock us. Nehemiah 4:3 “Tobiah the Ammonite, who was at his side, said, “What they are building—even a fox climbing up on it would break down their wall of stones!” Psalm 119:51 “The arrogant mock me unmercifully, but I do not turn from your law.”
No matter what we face, we must persevere and continue on the path God has laid out for us. Jeremiah 29:11 “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Even if others think God doesn’t have a plan for you or they think God’s plan for you is wrong, persevere and keep moving forward. Moses said, Numbers 16:28 “This is how you will know that the Lord has sent me to do all these things and that it was not my idea:” Elijah said 1 Kings 18:36 “At the time of sacrifice, the prophet Elijah stepped forward and prayed: “Lord, the God of Abraham, Isaac and Israel, let it be known today that you are God in Israel and that I am your servant and have done all these things at your command. 37 Answer me, Lord, answer me, so these people will know that you, Lord, are God, and that you are turning their hearts back again.” We do not turn to the right or to the left. Just because most think you are on the wrong path doesn’t mean that you are. Having said that; your path better be guided by the word of God, not man’s word. Psalm 119:51 “The arrogant mock me unmercifully, but I do not turn from your law.” So we trust God to lead us to where he plans on taking us, even if it takes longer than we thought. Psalm 106:13 “But they soon forgot what he had done and did not wait for his plan to unfold. 14 In the desert they gave in to their craving; in the wilderness they put God to the test. 15 So he gave them what they asked for, but sent a wasting disease among them.” God said Proverbs 3:5 “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; 6 in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.” God will fulfill his plan but we must adhere to his word wholeheartedly and not turn from it. Proverbs 5:7 “Now then, my sons, listen to me; do not turn aside from what I say.” Proverbs 4:20 “My son, pay attention to what I say; turn your ear to my words. 21 Do not let them out of your sight, keep them within your heart; 22 for they are life to those who find them and health to one’s whole body. 23 Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it. 24 Keep your mouth free of perversity; keep corrupt talk far from your lips. 25 Let your eyes look straight ahead; fix your gaze directly before you. 26 Give careful thought to the paths for your feet and be steadfast in all your ways. 27 Do not turn to the right or the left; keep your foot from evil.” 1 Samuel 12:21 “Do not turn away after useless idols. They can do you no good, nor can they rescue you, because they are useless. 24 But be sure to fear the Lord and serve him faithfully with all your heart; consider what great things he has done for you.”